This is a hearty Italian dish from my Great Grandmother who was from Sicily. We used to make this once a month. Don't worry about frying the eggplant it's fried in olive oil and my Papa always said that Olive oil was the best thing for you (he also used to say to shove garlic cloves up your nose if you have a cold, but that's another story). If you want to leave the other ingredients out and just fry the eggplant it is wonderful on a sandwich cold with a little butter. I could die. This dish feeds a whole army and can be made up to two days ahead just pop it in the fridge after it's done. I think it tastes better the second day, personally.